College is one of the biggest challenges life can throw at a person. You go in, a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed eighteen-year-old, ready to face the challenges that each college semester can throw at you. You leave older, wiser and a lot greyer than you anticipated. As with high school, you get a feeling of total security when you attend classes. You have a schedule and guidance with every year that passes and when you are putting in those college applications, that anticipation of the next stage of classes and independent learning is exciting. You get to throw off a little more of the shackles of parental guidance, but you still have a schedule and somewhere to be. Facing the end of college is facing the unknown.
Every graduate, including you, will express their sheer relief at no more assignments. No more exams. No more attending lectures and trying to impress tutors. The end of college is the end of a rite of passage that you have studied hard to pass. You have had your nose to the grindstone for four years and now you are about to head into the real world. Whether you’ve been studying medicine and are off for an internship at a hospital or you have been sitting in law school, learning torts and about to head off to work with companies like Bannister Preston, you are about to change your life. And change is scary if you’re not quite sure if you are ready to step forward into that unknown territory of The Real World.
There’s no summer break that stretches for weeks on end anymore. The days of having long weeks away from the lecture hall are finished. Making sure that you are well-prepared for those heady college days to be over, will mean that the day you step into your new life as a fully-fledged adult (because let’s face it, you don’t feel like a grown up yet!) is easier to deal with. There’s a lot that you can do on campus to get yourself ready while you still can. You can attend jobs fairs to get yourself booked onto interviews with various companies and discuss your future with mentors that you’ve had throughout your time there. There are also the following ways you can ease your jump from college to life:
Focus Your Mindset
Senior year is very different to every other year of college that you go through. Each year so far, you’ve prepared yourself for the ‘next’ year, the timetabling and the place to live and the job you’re working in. This time, you will graduate and never be returning – unless you have chosen to head to grad school.
You have to start thinking about your job prospects and shift your focus to that as early as possible. It doesn’t matter that graduation is six months away, you need to have a lead or two or more before you head into the real world. Attend careers seminars and learn how to conduct yourself in an interview. Avoid the ‘senior slide’ at all costs, and focus your mind on being a success after college rather than panic and try and find a job after you graduate. Doing that can mean a lot of stress while you battle to pay rent!
Focus Your Grades
To be able to step into the real world, you’re going to have to graduate. You didn’t put four or more years of your life into college only to miss it on the final hurdle. The last thing you want to do is end up needing to take an extra class in the summer and delaying graduating. This will delay your ability to move into your own place close to the new job – you won’t have a new job without your degree.
Nearly every role that you could apply for after graduation will have the stipulation that you have to pass your degree to pick up a job. Check in regularly with your personal advisor so that you know you have enough credits to graduate at all. Sign up for additional classes if you need to and take on extra assignments to meet any credits you missed the first time around. It is your responsibility to ensure you are on track. While you’re speaking to your advisor, ask about applications for graduation. You won’t want anything to delay or hinder the process if you are on track.
Meet With Career Services
Did you know that almost half of all college students ignore the fact that there is a careers services office on campus? Obviously, if you have a job lined up there’s no need to worry about visiting careers services, but if not, you could really take advantage of the resume writing sessions and inside information on upcoming jobs in the industry that you would be working in. A lot of the time, your professors can give you contacts to go ahead and ask directly whether there are roles available. College has a ton of resources that you can benefit from, so utilise them while you still can.
As a senior, you’re the big dog on campus. You know the ins and outs of how things work, you know where everything is and you’re familiar with a lot of the professors in the school you are studying in. Moving into the real world can make you feel like a freshman again, and it’s a time of uncertainty. While you’re still in college, take advantage of meeting new people, trying new things and taking on experiences that will give you some time to get used to adjusting to something new. All of these things can give you the chance to learn about yourself.
Graduation will be here before you know it, and instead of looking at it being the end of something, look at it as the beginning. Today is the day your life begins, the day you become accountable to the world. It’s your time to shine.